Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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January = Storystorm!

For picture book writers, January equals Storystorm!

Storystorm, an adventure in brainstorming new picture book ideas, is Tara Lazar’s kicking-off-the-new-year-of-writing-picture-books project. I can’t even remember how many years I’ve been doing Storystorm, but it is worth every second. And I have the dog-tagged notebooks to prove it.

Thanks, Tara, for planning this creativity-inspiring month of posts for building a bank of picture book ideas. Let’s go, 2022!


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Haiku Moment: stuck

winter freeze equals

locked in place, stuck in RV

special escape tool

stuck by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley


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Pantser or Plotter?

I’ve always been a pantser. That’s a writer who creates stories by the seat of her pants, just jumping off the cliff and writing whatever happens next. This is a very exciting way to write. You never know what is going to happen next. Because. Well. You haven’t planned anything.

In November and December, I suddenly found myself desiring to plot new stories. I wanted to try being a plotter, a writer who makes a plan before writing. This of course helps with story arc, characters, setting, and all of that stuff. Well, it’s not like I said, “I want to be a plotter,” but one day I noticed my Debbie Ridpath Ohi picture book thumbnails template and thought it would be fun to try.

And wow! Two picture books written by actual plotting. For these two stories, the plotting plan worked perfectly. (Heh-heh, I love alliteration.)

I’m sure I will continue to be mostly a pantser because I love running with a story idea that begins with a title (which happens quite often) or a phrase or a character. But on occasion, I might just dig out that template and put on my plotting pants.

Who’s with me?

Thank you, Debbie Ridpath Ohi! You can find her picture book templates (and tons of other great info) on her website: debbieohi.com

Writing Tip: Always add kitties to help you write. Works for plotters OR pantsers. (Or snugglers.)


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Thanksgiving Words

T – Thankful thoughts and prayers for overflowing blessings

H – Home filled with love and family

A – Answered prayers and wishes

N – Needs fulfilled

K – Kindness extended (and accepted)

S – Security of faith

G – God who provides

I – I AM

V – Victorious life

I – Inconceivable joy

N – Necessities in abundance

G – God who saves

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 NLT

Wishing you a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving Day filled with love, laughter, and gratitude.

Thanksgiving Words by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Ahtanum Mission, Yakima Valley


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Haiku Moment: two seasons clash

snow, ice, sunshine, warmth

orange green red harvest decor

fall and winter friends

two seasons clash in

popularity battle!

yet time marches on

die, rest, rebirth, grow-

to repeat again, cycles

chase each other home

two seasons clash by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley, WA


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Haiku Moment: forest popcorn

wet drippy wander

way off road and tummy growls

pop forest popcorn

forest popcorn by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Oak Creek Road, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Pacific Northwest

NOTE: This is not really popcorn, though it looks as if popcorn grows on trees, er, shrubs. I’m not sure if it’s edible. Do not eat this popcorn!


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Book Review: The Chickens Are Coming! by Barbara Samuels

The Chickens Are Coming!

Written and illustrated by Barbara Samuels

Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2019

I was sitting in my she shed the other day and heard a nearby rooster crowing. Very nearby. Just a note: we do not have chickens OR roosters.

Though our neighbors do. So we often have feathered guests running around the pasture. But I’ve never heard the crowing this close.

I carefully tip-toed to the window and looked out. Sure enough, there was a handsome fellow and his girls right outside the door! They happily pecked and picked, enjoying free range exploration and snacking.

Sorry about the Eiffel Tower right in the middle of the photo…I didn’t see it until later.

They make me laugh, those chickens. Seeing them made me remember a picture book I had just read to my grandson, The Chickens Are Coming!.

This is such a fun picture book. A brother and sister who live in a large city see a sign about chickens needing a new home. Pretty soon they are the owners of a delightful group of hens, each with a name and personality. The story continues as the siblings hope for eggs, but no eggs are found.

Why I Like This Book:

~ the chickens have personalities

~ the story line is fun: discover chickens need a home, adopt the chickens, learn about chickens, try to help the chickens get ready to lay eggs, try to find eggs, try to find chickens

~ plenty of detailed and engaging illustrations – my first grader was captivated by all of the things he could see on the pages

~ chickens in the city!

~ chicken dance

~ free range eggs (a personal favorite of mine)

Feeling like a good chicken story or adopting a hen or three? The Chickens Are Coming! will give you plenty of good reading and/or help you learn what you need to do when your chickens arrive.


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Haiku Moment: orange girl

October’s color

orange, furry, smooth, soft, warm,

purr, marmalade girl

orange girl by Angie Quantrell

Seattle furry friend, Daisy


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Haiku Moment: drink

fall bounty shines bright,

a feast for the eyes and soul

drink in the colors

drink by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley